This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - Nov. 20
Denver Pioneers (1-2, 0-0 WAC)
The Pioneers host in-state rival Colorado State on Wednesday in a game that will air live on ROOT SPORTS ... Denver has played CSU more than any other team, compiling a 66-93 all-time record in a series dating back to 1904, DU’s first year of varsity basketball ... the Rams, who went 20-12 last season, earned a spot in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, where they fell in the second round to Murray State ... junior Chris Udofia recorded his first double-double of the season and fourth career against Cal on Nov. 16 ... Udofia is ranked fourth in the WAC in scoring (17.7), assists (4.00) and blocks (2.33) ... he is the only player ranked in the Top 10 in the WAC in points, rebounding and assists ... sophomore guard Brett Olson is leading the WAC with 4.0 three-pointers made per game and eighth in three-point percentage (.480) ... DU signed Drick Bernstine, from Aurora, Colo., to a NLI last week for 2013-14.
Idaho Vandals (0-2, 0-0 WAC)
Idaho’s men will try to rebound on Tuesday after seeing a 15-point second-half lead evaporate on Saturday in a 66-63 home loss to Montana ... junior Stephen Madison scored a career-high 22 points and Idaho shot 42.1 percent, but were outrebounded, 34-31, and gave up a 47.9 percent clip to the Griz ... senior guard Mike McChristian appears to be tightening his grip on Idaho’s starting point guard spot ... on Saturday against Montana, the second-year Vandal tallied career highs of 10 points, five assists, three steals, one block, four made field goals, two made 3-pointers and 35 minutes on the court ... UI plays Green Bay this week, which holds a 2-0 series lead, including a tight 63-61 victory last season at Green Bay, Wis. ... in that game, Idaho senior Kyle Barone had a doubledouble of 13 points and 12 boards, along with four blocks.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (3-1, 0-0 WAC)
Louisiana Tech went 2-0 last week and the team is already 1-0 this week ... LA Tech has now won three-straight games after a season-opening loss at Texas A&M ... the Bulldogs defeated UALR 70-52 before downing Troy 70-46 this past week ... the team also defeated Southeast Missouri State 67-63 on Monday ... shooting guard Cordarius Johnson led the Bulldogs in both games versus the Trojans, scoring a combined 33 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field ... Kenneth Smith was named the WAC’s player of the week after a pair of impressive offensive performances last week where he tallied 12 assists, six steals and 14 rebounds over two games ... forward Michale Kyser blocked two shots in each contest moving him into sixth all-time in career blocks for a Bulldog ... the Bulldog defense held both opponents to 20 points or less in the first half ... LA Tech continues play this week against Chattanooga and ULM.
New Mexico State Aggies (1-3, 0-0 WAC)
The Aggies defeated Southeastern Louisiana, 81-56, Nov. 15, in the home opener ... senior forward Tyrone Watson directed the Aggies with a career-high 24 points ... he was 7-of-10 from the field and 10-of-10 at the free-throw line in 24 minutes of action ... the Aggies shot the ball well in the home opener including 51.9 percent from the field, 50 percent from the 3-point line and 80.8 percent from the free-throw line ... NM State opened the Niagara Falls subregional of the 2K Sports Classic benefitting Wounded Warrior Project with a 62-49 loss to Bucknell .... sophomore guard Daniel Mullings paced the Aggies with a season-high 22 points and team-high six rebounds ... Watson was also in double figures with 13 points ... NM State let a second-half lead slip away and fell to Niagara, 86-83, in the 2K Sports Classic on Nov. 18 ... Mullings scored a season-high 26 points ... Mullings was named to the All-Tourn team.
San Jose State Spartans (1-2, 0-0 WAC)
San Jose State finishes its three-game homestand Tuesday night with a game against UC Santa Cruz ... the team is looking to end the three games with a winning record after splitting home games against Houston (L, 77-75) and Weber State (WOT, 68-67) ... the Spartans enter the game with a 1-2 record after losing the first game of the year at New Orleans, 72-68 ... the team last won consecutive home games last season when the team defeated UC Irvine (51-50) and Holy Names (109-71) ... D.J. Brown made four free throws in the final 1:02 of overtime to give San Jose State a 68-67 win over Weber State last Thursday ... James Kinney led all scorers with a season-high 24 points against WSU ... in the win, San Jose State had its best free throw shooting night of the early season connecting on 13-of-18 tries.
Seattle U Redhawks (1-1, 0-0 WAC)
The first three minutes of Saturday’s game at Virginia went fine, as Seattle U took a 6-3 lead. However, the last 37 minutes belonged to Virginia, as the Cavaliers outscored the Redhawks 41-7 in the remaining 17 minutes before halftime on their way to an 83-43 victory ... Seattle U shot just 25.4 percent from the field, committed 19 turnovers, and lost the rebounding battle, 41-29 ... nobody reached double figures in scoring for the Redhawks, the first time that has happened since Dec. 17, 2011, at Utah State ... it was the worst loss for Seattle U since a 123-76 defeat at Washington Jan. 26, 2010 ... Seattle U will look to bounce back Wednesday, Nov. 21, against Pacific Lutheran at KeyArena.
UT Arlington Mavericks (1-1, 0-0 WAC)
UT Arlington battled hard but came up shy Friday night in a 63-59 loss to Oklahoma in the Mavericks’ season home opener in front of a school-record crowd of 6,421 at the College Park Center ... it was UTA’s lone game of the week ... it was the first-ever visit to UTA by a school in the Big 12 Conference, and the Mavericks surely made the rest of the conference wary of making future treks to Arlington, where the Mavs are 56-15 since the 2007-08 campaign ... UTA mounted a furious comeback in the second half, storming back from as many as 17 points down to knot the score (57-57) with 2:40 left on a second-chance bucket by Jordan Reves ... Kevin Butler paced the Mavs with 16 points, while Karol Gruszecki added 15 ... UTA is next in action Saturday, Nov. 24 at Samford. It is the first of four straight games on the road.
UTSA Roadrunners (3-1, 0-0 WAC)
UTSA has posted its second 3-1 start in the past three season … the Roadrunners improved to 27-5 all-time in home openers, including 6-1 under seventh-year head coach Brooks Thompson, with the 67-59 victory against USC Upstate on Saturday … UTSA has won 23 of its last 27 non-conference home contests … senior Kannon Burrage poured in a team-high 19 points in the USC Upstate win and now has 501 points in 36 career games with the Roadrunners … junior forward Jeromie Hill has 461 career rebounds, which is tied for ninth in school history, and he ranks 17th with 907 career points … head coach Brooks Thompson needs one win to reach 100 for his UTSA career … UTSA travels to Provo to face BYU on Wednesday night to begin a stretch of six straight road games in four different time zones … UTSA will play 10 of their first 11 contests away from home.
Texas State Bobcats (2-1, 0-0 WAC)
Texas State went 1-1 last week ... the Bobcats defeated UT-Tyler 86-66 before falling 78-75 to SMU ... Joel Wright helped Texas State to its 1-1 record this past week ... Wright scored 19 points in the Bobcats win over UT-Tyler, and then backed it up with a career-high 28 points in the three-point loss to SMU ... Wright went a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe versus SMU to improve his streak to 10- made free throws ... he has scored in double figures in each of the Bobcats’ three games this season ... Wright leads Texas State with an average of 22.0 ppg, while Matt Staff is second on the team with 16.3 ppg ... the Bobcats are outscoring their opponents by an average of 9.0 points per game ... Texas State has scored a minimum 75 points in its first-three games, and is averaging 82.3 points per game ... this week, Texas state will play in the Great Alaska Shootout for three games.
Utah State Aggies (2-1, 0-0 WAC)
Junior center Jarred Shaw averaged a double-double in helping USU to a 1-1 mark for the week, averaging 17.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per game, adding 1.0 blocks per game ... in USU’s 67-58 loss to Saint Mary’s on Thursday, Shaw posted his first double-double of his Aggie career with 17 points and 15 rebounds, shooting 5-of-13 from the field, but was 7-of-8 at the free throw line ... in Saturday’s 77-68 Aggie win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Shaw tied his career-high with 17 points, shooting 6-of-7 from the field as well as 5-of-6 at the charity stripe, and led USU in rebounding for the third time in as many games played for the Aggies with seven boards ... this week, Utah State hosts Weber State on Saturday night.
LOUISIANA TECH’S SMITH NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Smith has been named the Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Nov. 12-18.
Smith, a sophomore guard from St. Petersburg, Fla. (Boca Ciega HS), led the Bulldogs to a 2-0 record last week with wins over UALR (70-52) and Troy (70-46). Smith recorded a career-high six steals in the win over UALR, tying him for fourth all-time in Louisiana Tech history for most steals in a single game. Along with his six steals, Smith recorded a team-high seven rebounds, seven points and a game-high five assists in the victory. He also anchored a LA Tech defense that allowed only 18 points in the first half against Troy. Smith tallied a game-high seven assists to go along with seven rebounds in the win over Troy.
Other nominees included: Denver junior forward Chris Udofia recorded a double-double against Cal … New Mexico State sophomore Daniel Mullings averaged 19.0 points over three games last week … UTSA senior Kannon Burrage scored 19 points with seven rebounds in a win over USC Upstate … Texas State junior Joel Wright scored a career-high 28 points against SMU … Utah State junior center Jarred Shaw averaged a double-double over two games last week.
WAC TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO LAS VEGAS
The 2013 WAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament will be held March 12-16 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas and will include all ten WAC teams. Ticket information and tournament format will be available soon at www.wacsports.com.
WEEK TWO RECAP
Louisiana Tech has won three straight, including two last week. The Bulldogs pulled off wins over UALR and Troy last week. LA Tech also defeated SEMO on Monday afternoon in the second game of the UT Chattanooga Tournament. The Bulldogs will play for the tournament title Tuesday night against tournament-host Chattanooga. The Bulldogs were the lone WAC team without a loss last week. Denver, San Jose State, Texas State and Utah State each went 1-1. Denver defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and then dropped a 72-61 decision to Cal. San Jose State dropped a close two-point decision to Houston before defeatin Weber State in overtime. Texas State knocked off UT-Tyler at home before falling by three points to SMU. Utah State dropped a closely-contested battle with St. Mary’s before defeating Texas A&M-CC. Texas State’s Joel Wright led the league in scoring last week, averaging 23.5 points over two games. Utah State’s Jarred Shaw averaged 11.0 rebounds per game last week.
UTSA WINS LIBERTY TAX CLASSIC IN NORFOLK, VA.
Senior Michael Hale III scored a career-high 29 points and UTSA won the Liberty Tax Classic title on Nov. 11 with a 79-70 victory at Old Dominion. The Roadrunners and Holy Cross each finished the season-opening tournament with a 2-1 record, but UTSA won the tiebreaker by virtue of its 60-56 triumph over the Crusaders on Nov. 10. Hale III, who was tabbed the event’s Most Valuable Player, was 10-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-7 from the 3-point line, and his point total was the most since Melvin Johnson III tallied 29 against Alabama State in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
SEATTLE U CLAIMS ELGIN BAYLOR CLASSIC TITLE, TRENT NAMED MVP
The Seattle University men’s basketball team opened the 2012-13 season with an 87-72 victory over Montana State in the ninth annual Elgin Baylor Classic Nov. 11 at KeyArena at Seattle Center. Clarence Trent (Tacoma, Wash.) was named MVP of this year’s classic after leading all players with 18 points, plus he pulled down a team-high nine rebounds. Seattle University (1-0) heads to Charlottesville, Va., for a game against the Virginia Cavaliers next Saturday, Nov. 17, at 4 p.m. local time (1 p.m. Pacific time). The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.